Report: MACC eyes charges against ‘VIP’ ops director as person of interest in LCS scandal

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 An operations director has been earmarked by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as a person of interest in the littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal, Utusan Malaysia reported today,

The national paper cited an unnamed MACC source saying the operations director is considered a “very important” person in the LCS procurement where not one of the six contracted vessels have been completed despite a 10-year time-frame.

According to the MACC source, the decision to prosecute the person of interest was made after investigators in the LCS project interviewed 35 witnesses.

“All of those who were called were believed to be individuals from the Ministry of Defence and corporate companies who were offered the LCS project.

“Statements were also taken from private companies local and overseas,” the source was quoted as saying.

The Malay newspaper also reported that the MACC have made their recommendations to the Attorney General's Chambers and will leave it up to them to decide if the case can be tried or not based on the evidence provided.

In a Facebook post last Saturday, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the government is looking to get the project back on track.

He said negotiations with vendors, original equipment manufacturers and banks are being carried out.

The LCS project, budgeted at roughly RM9 billion, is reportedly the largest procurement in the history of the Defence Ministry.

The procurement began in 2013 with a 10-year time frame and six LCS ships were expected to be built and delivered to the country by the end of 2023.

Cost overruns for the LCS project so far have totalled RM1.4 billion, with RM400 million used to pay old debts from an old patrol vessel project, the PAC said on August 4.

The issue was first reported in the Auditor General’s Report 2019 Series 1 (Ministry/Federal Department Compliance Audit) and the Investigation Report of the Government Governance, Procurement and Finance Investigation Committee, published in 2019.